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TYRRELL: Of Democrats and distractions

Obama’s defenders keep public’s gaze glued elsewhere

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Now it can be told. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, despite his lofty position in the U.S. Senate and despite being married to a very nice woman, has been having sex with a cow for at least three months, maybe more. How he met the cow I cannot say, as it would compromise extremely sensitive sources. Where did he met her? Again, my lips are sealed. Nonetheless, it is time for Mr. Reid to come clean about that cow. The Senate majority leader said recently of Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, that he "must prove that he has paid his taxes because he hasn't." Well Mr. Reid must prove he has not had sex with a cow. He must prove that he does not even know the cow. He must because he has and he does.

So let the senator confess his relation with the cow on the floor of the Senate -- the same hallowed spot where he leveled his tax evasion charges against Mr. Romney. Or let him deny his relationship with the cow there on the Senate floor -- though he will be lying. He is not the first man to deceive the electorate from the floor of the Senate, albeit this will be the first time such a delicate topic has been raised there. Well, too bad -- he should come clean.

This election is becoming an amazing spectacle. The economy is in terrible shape. The deficits are piling up all around us as growth remains sclerotic. President Obama has offered only more of the same solutions that got us into this mess, plus higher taxes for the better off. Those taxes will only hobble the economy further and keep the federal grip on a historically unparalleled 24 to 25 percent of the economy. Mr. Romney, who as governor of Massachusetts and CEO of the Salt Lake City Olympics, has demonstrated gifts as a turnaround artist, wants to conduct a campaign on the issues. The answer from Democrats is only distractions. Now his tax returns for 10 recent years are an issue raised by a dunce. Last week, the Democratic media raised another distraction, his alleged gaffes committed on his recent trip abroad.

If he paid no taxes, I assume the point is that he broke the law and he should have been prosecuted. By the way, how many tax cheats have had the chutzpah to run for the presidency in recent years? As for supposed gaffes, who was it that told us once freed from the teleprompter that, "If you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. If you've got a business you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." Yes, that was Mr. Obama speaking, a man for whom we might invent the term gaffable, if we had not already invented the term for his vice president, Joe Biden.

Yet there is no reason to restrict the word gaffable to Mr. Biden. That Mr. Obama would attempt to make another man's supposed gaffes an issue is rather astounding. In Hawaii, our president said, "When I meet with world leaders, what's striking -- whether it is in Europe or here in Asia ." To a Memorial Day crowd he yawped, "On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today -- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong." From the campaign trail, he made the inscrutable geographical blunder, "I've now been in 57 states -- I think one left to go." In Strasbourg, France, he confected the little-known language of Austrian when he said, "I don't know what the term is in Austrian." I could go on. On the Internet there are whole pages created detailing this president's gaffes.

Yet Mr. Romney shoves off to Europe and questions the Olympics' security in London. A Romney aide mentions our shared "Anglo-Saxon heritage" before a shocked American press -- and the oaf Roger Simon, in Politico, plays the race card, commenting with feigned irony: "A black guy just isn't a member of our club and never will be." Finally, in Israel Mr. Romney asseverates, "If you could learn anything from the economic history of the world, it's this: Culture makes all the difference." These are the lines that the media call gaffes. In truth, there was nothing wrong with the aforementioned statements. Mr. Romney speaks English and cites truth. Mr. Obama without benefit of a teleprompter lapses into bibble-babble.

Oh, and by the way, Mr. Reid: I was just making a harmless joke -- ha, ha.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of the American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. He is the author most recently of "The Death of Liberalism" (Thomas Nelson, 2012).

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